The Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Literary File contains photographs relating both to authors
published by the firm and to Alfred A. Knopf's personal life. The material dates
from the 1890s through the 1980s. Nearly 500 photographers, notably Knopf himself,
and a variety of formats and processes are represented in the file. The majority
photographs are black-and-white, unless noted in the description. The collection
arranged in five series: I. Photographs of Authors, 1921-1977; II. Personal
Photographs, 1895-1983; III. Assorted Negatives, 1912-1977; IV. Oversize Items,
1911-1938 and undated; and V. Manuscript Items, undated.
Series I. is divided into three subseries. Subseries A. Portraits of Authors,
contains formal portraits of the authors published by Knopf, Inc. Subseries B.
Snapshots of Authors by Alfred A. Knopf, consists of informal photographs of
authors, taken primarily at Knopf's home in Purchase, New York. Subseries C. Author
Publicity Files, contains portraits and caricatures of Knopf, Inc.'s authors.
also contains reproductions of illustrations used in the books published by Knopf,
Inc., images used to promote those books, reproductions of book jackets, and
photographs of promotional window displays.
Each subseries in Series I. is organized alphabetically by author's last name. The
bulk of the images dates from the 1930s through the 1960s. The subjects of the
subseries overlap to some degree: images pertaining to a particular author may
found in more than one subseries, as well as in Series II. subseries B (see
below). It is important to note that most of the folders in the Publicity Files
contain multiple copies of a few images. Additionally, while this group is organized
by author, a folder may not actually have photographs of its author, only book
illustrations or other promotional images, indicated by brackets around the author's
name. For example, the folder on Hilaire Belloc (13.10) does not contain any
portraits of Belloc, only a reproduction of an illustration from Belloc's book.
Series II. is divided into three subseries. Subseries A. Alfred A. &
Blanche W. Knopf, contains snapshots and formal portraits of Alfred from boyhood
the 1890s through the 1980s and Blanche as a young woman in the 1910s through
as well as some of Blanche Wolf's family photographs, all arranged chronologically.
Subseries B. Animals, Events, Homes and People, contains snapshots of the Knopf's
dogs, of assorted events they attended, of their home in Purchase, N.Y., and of
their friends and family. The Friends and Family photographs include both snapshots
and formal portraits of many of the same authors represented in Series I. Subseries
C. Travel Photographs, consists of the Knopf's vacation snapshots from the early
1900s through the 1970s, organized chronologically.
Series III. Assorted Negatives consists of five subseries: A. 35mm negatives, which
consists of People and Dogs, Travels, and Assorted Subjects; B. Medium-Format
negatives; C. Glass negatives; D. Glass transparencies; and E. Nitrate Negatives,
which consists of Personal Photos, Travel Photos, Dogs, and Horses, which are
arranged chronologically, as well as Authors and Deteriorating Negatives, both
arranged alphabetically by subject. The negatives in all of these subseries
complement the previous two series of photographs.
Series IV. Oversize items includes an album of Knopf's snapshots from 1911 to 1915,
an empty album box, and assorted large-format prints, including a series of author
portraits taken by Knopf.
Series V. Manuscript items consists of a small amount of photograph and negative
envelopes with manuscript notes which were not able to be matched to their original
A subject index at the end of the finding aid lists the people represented in the
collection in alphabetical order. An additional index lists the 493 photographers
represented in the collection. Alfred A. Knopf took many of the photographs himself,
and he is listed in the index. However, he presumably took all of the photographs
Series I. Subseries B. (Snapshots of Authors), so these items are not listed in